Question On Bluffing

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sunset
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Question On Bluffing

Postby sunset » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:17 pm

I am thinking about getting a ITN in the future but have a question on bluffing. Does this occur only when the bird is in adolescence when their hormones kick in? Or does this also happen when breeding season occurs?

MissK
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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby MissK » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:33 pm

Hi sunset.

Some people, myself included, believe this bluffing story is a myth. Think about these: Why would a young flock animal engage in a behaviour to keep other flock members away? Why would a young flock animal engage in behaviours to keep non-flock or (perceived) dangerous animals away?

It has been suggested that the bluffing theory is a way to explain behaviour of a young bird asserting its growing autonomy and potential for self-defence, in a way that doesn't make humans look bad for overstepping their bounds with the young bird who was previously too defenceless to object.

You might also look at it as the way a smaller kid reacts to bullying from a bigger kid once he's grown a bit and the sizes are not so unequal. Sometimes the tables turn and that bully gets laid out flat.

Try and read a bit more about so-called bluffing and see how much sense it makes to you now. Also, congratulations on your bird.
-MissK

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InTheAir
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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby InTheAir » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:44 pm

I don't subscribe to the "bluffing" theory at all. Nor do my 2 ringnecks. By using positive reinforcement, applied behaviour analysis and carefully reading and respecting our birds communication it is perfectly possible to develop a good working relationship with a ringneck.
I recommend you read this, it is written by one of the leading authorities on parrot training:



How an individual parrot behaves over breeding season is influenced by handling to a degree. Male ringnecks do tend to be more laidback than hens.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby InTheAir » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:47 pm

http://goodbirdinc.blogspot.com.au/2015 ... f.html?m=1

here is link that should have been in above post

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:44 am

Hello,

I just came across this post and I have to politely disagree with both you, and Barbara Heidenreich's post as well.

Firstly, I think Barbara is categorizing the behavior of all ringnecks under the umbrella of "typical" parrot behavior. This is something that irks me, as I strongly believe there is no "typical" parrot behavior-- all parrot species have their own unique characteristics that allowed them to adapt to their environments. For example, macaws spend more time with their parents before leaving, lorikeets require nectar to survive, or budgies eat only predominantly grass seeds/greens. See my point? It is us humans who impose the notion that because parrots have curved beaks, two toes facing forward and back, long tails (most of them), and are colorful; then they must all be the same. :-o We've all heard the saying, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck-- then it must be a duck, right? This type of thinking has hurt parrot keeping overall. Not only do I disagree with her article that this behavior is a contrived myth--I believe the overall tone of the article is centered on the notion that everyone who owns a parrot uses aggressive-forceful tactics to train their birds--this is absolutely ludicrous. :-?

I think because Barbra has worked with many parrot species overall, and OTHER animals i might add, i presume she has come to the conclusion that all parrot development is the same for every specie of parrot? If so, ask world renowned avian vet Dr. Jenkins as to why cockatoos pluck and Pionus parrots hardly do--they are all very different. The two species I just mentioned fall under the umbrella of "parrot," yet their behaviors and social structures are totally different--it's the same with ringnecks. Besides, Barbra does not have experience in ringneck handling solely. Her statements regarding bluffing are not valid in my book. I strongly believe she is looking at parrot keeping form a "humanistic" perspective and HER perspective. 8-| Besides, though I respect that she is an amazing business woman, her posts are there to keep you informed about her products. ;) I will say though, her work is highly respected to the public domain towards the benefits of positive reinforcement; however, I have to disagree with the article shared on her site.

Another point she failed to bring to light is that every bird is an individual. Just like humans, they all have their own personalities -- some are more stubborn, some more easy going, some more jealous, and others more loving. In fact, between all of my ringnecks I can pin point their personalities. No bird is the same--they are not robots.

What's more disappointing about the article is that before she jumped to this conclusion, she never consulted an expert on the topic. For example, I have spent a third of my life working with ringnecks--from breeding, socializing, bluffing, taming, and watching feral flocks. What about the other countless members who contribute to this community / breeders?

I must also point out, she makes a living selling products that many of you consume--this is not bad, but i have never run IndianRingneck.com as a platform to push products. I have turned down endorsements, TV appearances, and never charged for consulting fees to help people with their ringnecks. Also, I' don't ever charge for educational speaking gigs on parrot development and training either. Again, I want to be clear as I don't think there is anything wrong with Barbra's approach--we just have two different avenues of getting the word out about parrot keeping. In fact, we both strive to make these creates have better lives--this i know we can agree on.

I might add that I spend thousands of dollars running this site and have never asked for money either.

It's true Barbra is an educated woman in her field, and for that I respect her, but she does not have years worth of hands on data, research, or time into ringnecks like I do. Also, I might point out that a degree is just a degree in my book. Though I'm a business major myself, I can tell you it does not make me any smarter. =)) Perhaps you might think otherwise? :)) :)) :)) ;)

Look, I am one person who is devoted to helping these birds live long happy lives in our homes. Quite frankly it kills me these birds get the short end of the deal all to often--simply because these birds are not understood--let's leave it at that.

Really quick, here is reply to your questions MissK.

Why would a young flock animal engage in behaviours to keep non-flock or (perceived) dangerous animals away?


Ringnecks don't bluff to keep flock mates away. Rather, bluffing is only used towards adult flock mates who are pushy when flocking. For example, a baby will bluff to get its fair share of the food, thus increasing its chances to survive. Also, this bluffing is beneficial when roosting, too. The babies who cannot fight for prime space are easily picked off by predators. This is why ringnecks have large clutches, because so many babies die during this fragile stage just after they fledge.

Best wishes,

IMRAN-C

P.S. Also, I might add there is a reason these birds were deemed aggressive before I came into the scene, and other devoted members on this forum, and started educating people of the subject of ringneck keeping. Many pet shops refuse to sell ringnecks as the onset of bluffing seems to be a deterrent--those are the few who do not understand ringnecks.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:48 am

Hello Sunset,

The most important thing to do during the bluffing stage is to incorporate your bird into your life. When the bird bites, pull your hand back and go about your business. Distract the bird and overtime, the bluffing will phase out..it's a night and day difference.

Keep in mind that some go through bluffing, but others don't. The key is to stay positive, reward the bird for good behavior, and the rest will fall into place.

I am thinking about getting a ITN in the future but have a question on bluffing. Does this occur only when the bird is in adolescence when their hormones kick in? Or does this also happen when breeding season occurs?


Bluffing occurs just after weaning and can last anywhere from a few days or weeks--depending on the bird, and no it does not happen during the breeding season.

Best wishes, :p

IMRAN-C

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby sanjays mummi » Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:54 pm

I'm sure I am not the only one who has Never experienced any negative behaviour which could be classed as "bluffing".

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InTheAir
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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby InTheAir » Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:13 pm

Hi Imran,

Barbara may be a business woman and selling her product, she also has a very solid understanding of behaviour mechanics and principles. So do Dr Susan Friedman, Greg Glendell and Hillary Hanky who I have also questioned on this topic. Despite all being highly respected professionals in the industry, they all were happy to share their opinions for free. I have also been in communication with some hobby breeders of ringnecks also, who observe behaviour in their young birds.
It is a very nice of you to run this forum, I do hope the advertising on the site does help off set the cost for you.

You know I do a lot of training with my little munchkins. They mostly want to do what I ask, there is always something in it for them (treats, toys, phone calls, showers, funny voices etc). But if I ask them to do something they don't want to do, for example step up when they are trying to nap, they ignore me, hold my finger with the foot they are resting or even tuck their beaks under their little wings. They have done this since they learned to step up. Why do they do this? Because there are no aversive consequences to ignoring me and they get they desired result by ignoring me. To put it simply, my hand is not a threat to them, if they ignore it I will not push their chest or attempt to get them to step up, they are left to sleep whether the hand is there or not, which is what they wanted. You could label them "stubborn", "disobedient" etc for not stepping up immediately if I ask them to when they are trying to nap. If I was going to label that behaviour, I'd use "trusting, confident, sweet".
I have met ringnecks who have been coerced to step up in a similar situation, they bit hard and fast when they didn't want to step up. This is a learned response that serves them well.

When the bird bites, pull your hand back and go about your business.
I think we can offer some more advice here: Look for the warning signs before our bird bites and back off before it leads to a bite. It can be hard to learn to read them at first, but practise makes perfect! By backing off before your bird bites it encourages the bird to use body language to communicate with you, rather than resorting to biting. Ideally we need to give our birds a framework which allows are birds to refuse our interactions with body language, rather than biting. Notice the feathers moving around the eyes, pinning eyes? Retreat!

From Hillary Hanky:
Traditionally, the idea that bluffing body language in parrots is that it is part of a young bird’s normal developmental cycle, even, according to some sources, unique to certain species. I disagree, nor would I call it bluffing at all. More often than not, hissing, lunging and other aggressive precursors to biting even in young birds absolutely results in increased and sustained aggression when the human continues to press forward with their handling. Having raised fully flighted Alexandrine parakeets myself, I can honestly say I saw no such stage in their development, and I find it a far stretch to think of this as one character trait unique to one species in the genus Psittacula.



I am unsure if you are familiar with the term "construct". Labeling a behaviour can get in the way of objectively seeing the behaviour and the precursors that lead to it. By labeling unwanted aggressive behaviour from a young ringneck we are not looking at the cause or affect of what lead that situation to occur in the first place. If you search "indian ringneck bluffing" on youtube you will find some fine examples of mishandling leading to the bird biting or lunging. The owner of the bird believes the bird is "bluffing" because it is young. The bird probably believes the owner is poking it for no good reason and responds by self defense. If the owner responded to the birds signs of discomfort by removing him/herself from the situation, the bird would not have escalated the aggression.

From Dr Susan Friedman in response to my query about bluffing:
I’m relieved that we have moved past these stories that explain the facts of a bird lunging and biting. We see that birds lunge and bite and the story we tell ourselves about why matters because it directs the understanding we have and the interventions we use. Parrots of any species and any age lunge and bite because of their learning history with hands coming toward them. When hands are used to force or coerce birds to step up, or even just come at the bird with alarming speed or intensity, the birds try a variety of escape behaviors. The ones that work are repeated. It’s just that simple and that scientific. Behavior reinforced is stronger. This is functional behavior — behavior used for effect, just like behavior has evolved to do.

When a bird first shows even the smallest sign of discomfort, even before the lunge or beak swipe, knowledgeable, compassionate caregivers stop and ask not “What’s wrong with this bird?” but rather, “What did I do to make this bird uncomfortable.”


I have a couple oldish books by Mattie Sue Athan, who has an interest in ringnecks. In the section describing Indian Ringnecks she makes absolutely no reference to any aggressive phase of development. She states that they are "skittish", "cautious"
... They may become "fear nippers" or "annoyance nippers" that apply beak to flesh only with the intention of getting the flesh to go away
Quite frankly, I do agree with the "skittish/cautious". I am not really convinced that ringnecks are an ideal species to keep as pets for most people.
I'll see if I can track down her to question her further on the topic if you like.

Any interaction with your bird that does not go in a manner you want should be studied on an individual basis. Looking at the Antecedent (what happened before the incident), the Behaviour that occurred and the Consequence (after the event) helps you build a comprehensive picture of what is happening that resulted in the unwanted behaviour. Antecedents can also be things outside or in another room, like a hawk flying by, someone thumping down the stairs or a rubbish truck etc.

I highly recommend that EVERY new ringneck owner should read over all the articles here: http://www.behaviorworks.org/htm/articl ... hange.html

My birds are definitely "Yes, lets" birds. They usually want to interact with me and my partner and take up our suggestions, they seldom bite to refuse a request. I have never been bitten without clear warning signs before the event -which I should have responded to to prevent it. Even when Sapphire decided that my socks were the perfect chew toy, I could still read the signs that she was considering chewing them before the little beak got to work!

Another question that needs to be considered is "How can I convince the bird to do my biding?". This is where reinforcers come in. Parrots will repeat the behaviour that they find the most reinforcing. A reinforcer is whatever the bird finds rewarding. The bird decides what this is.
I personally use food reinforcers a lot as they are usually the most highly valued thing I can offer to my birds. They did have a little thing for yellow beads for a while, so we used yellow beads. Nila also likes to be given access the taking selfies or looking at photos on a smart phone. So much so that if I need him to stop napping and go to his cage I can offer him the phone as a motivator and he wakes straight up! lol


Anyway, I really must go do some work now.

Regards,

Claire

*edit* "bluffing" description I used when questioning above professionals is found here:
http://birds.about.com/od/behaviorandtr ... uffing.htm
Last edited by InTheAir on Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:15 pm

Firstly, I don't have anything against Barbara running her business as there is nothing wrong with that. My intentions were to clarify of my motive, and my love for these birds. I have done nothing but study their behaviors through breeding, watching feral ringnecks in Bakersfield, working with other owners, and working with my flock of four ringnecks (3 Indian Ringnecks, 1 Alexandine).

As far as the other trainers go (Dr Susan Friedman, Greg Glendell, and Hillary Hanky), they too have given their two cents on the topic of parrot keeping. In fact, they all offer wonderful remedies that are centered on the notion of positive reinforcement. I might add that I am a huge proponent for such training techniques, and they are in-line with my thinking, too (Im huge fan of Dr Susan Friedman's work) But, let me make it clear, I strongly have said from the beginning, that negative interactions with a pet ringneck often lead to phobic and fearful birds, and biting as well.

Now, I think where we can agree to disagree is that in your eyes asking the bird to step up is deemed "aggressive." This I have to disagree with you. I believe this is a basic fundamental behavior that should be mastered while the baby is being socialized. Asking the bird to step up is hardly aggressive, and I'm a firm believer it should be mastered without a reward.

Though you may disagree with this, let me drive home a concept here for you. A dog owner does not get a dog and not train it, right? What is the result in such a case? Usually, it's a dog that will never listen to its owner. What if that dog ran into the street, what if that dog used aggressive behavior towards another person, how would it be stopped? You can't just hold a treat and tell the dog come back, right? Changes are if the dog never learned basic household rules on how to behave, it would not know what to do.

Now, I know you're going to bring up the fact that a ringneck and a dog is not the same. To that I say you're absolutely right! In fact, dogs are naturally loyal to humans as they have had thousands of years of domestication to adapt to our way of life. A ringneck on the other hand has not had such selective breeding towards human companionship. That being said, these birds have an open window during their younger age that allows us to mold them. It is during this time they are learning about their world and are receptive to all forms of taming. I'll get into that more later, but I wanted to make a point here and that is that if you depend on only the reward system to make the bird comply you might find yourself in sticky situations.

I know that I can retrieve my birds at any moment should there be an emergency without aggression, or for vet checkups. I don't have to convince them through rewards. In fact, this is so second nature to my birds that they are magnetic to me. If I set them down, their natural instinct is to crawl to me no matter how far away they are. I have practiced with my birds since they were weaning.

I should note that my birds wings are clipped. But, if you want to make the argument they don't have a choice, then I'll have to disagree with you again as I've seen many ringnecks who recall without a food reward-- the relationship between owner and bird is strong.

Now, you noticed I used an example of a dog to drive home my thinking. The reason I did that is all too often many people assume a ringneck is like a pet dog. Their minds are stuck on this fantasy of a household pet that everyone will enjoy. It can be this way, but I believe it's a combination of being consistent in setting ground rules and positive reinforcement.

It's true that you may disagree with this, but the reality is if I don't give people practical solutions to their birds, it is the bird who pays the price. I have come across birds who are isolated and left alone for years-- all because the bird did not meet their owner's expectations.

As for Hillary Hanky, she's absolutely right. Alexandrians behave in a different manner than Indian Ringnecks. Again, I believe Claire you are lumping Alexandrians and Indian Ringnecks together. It is true, Alexandrians are gentle from my experience and the ones that I did help never went into bluffing mode. Could it be a coincidence, the birds individual personality? Who knows! But I can assure you that Indian Ringnecks do bluff. I have fed babies who immediately start bluffing right into weaning. I find this particularly strong in female Indian Ringnecks. I've also talked to a few Alexandrian breeders who insisted that females make lousy pets, which I disagree as I believe they don't understand them.

I also wanted to make another point about the trainers you had mentioned. They have not had hands on experience with Indian ringnecks like I have. Nor have they bred them, socialized them, or dealt with the individual character traits that differ between the male and female Indian Ringneck. How would they know how to deal with a female ringneck who is a matriarch by nature? Or a jealous male Indian ringneck? Perhaps they would see the tilting of the head as only a mating gesture, or a male who talks as being funny? See how things can get twisted?

I think you're taking their words and using them as an argument for your thinking. I believe that if we talked to them, most of them would agree that they have not focused solely on ringnecks (not their specialty), and that every species of parrot is different. Their statements are theoretically strong, so much so, that I actually agree with them 99%.

If I remember correctly, you have never bred ringnecks before? In fact, I believe your female ringneck was aviary bread (Sapphire) and tamed by you, aren't I correct? That being said, you've done a wonderful job training her through positive reinforcement. I've seen your videos on YouTube and they often put a smile on my face. Your experience in the department of positive reinforcement is a force to reckon with, and I love that about you. B-)

But, I don't remember a time when you were ever into breeding? ;) I might be wrong. I've never seen you socialize ringnecks or help them into adulthood. And I should say, I mean this in no disrespect, but if you've bred these birds you would know that they are highly impressionable right after they wean. These birds are open to all kinds of handling, and this is something that should be taken advantage of if the bird is going to be kept as a pet. Perhaps my birds are so amazing because I took advantage of this window and taught them the basic rules in my household. I don't know if you've ever read any studies on imprinting, or the vulnerability of this window to help mold the bird, but it's a great read that I think you should dabble into. One that comes to mind are the endangered cranes of Florida. If I remember correctly, the hand feeders must wear fake crane suits to ensure the birds do not imprint on their human caretakers.

I can honestly say all four of my ringnecks have a deep bond with me. They are not circus animals only looking for rewards to make them comply. They are bonded living beings that will do anything for my attention -- I know they don't depend on me for only food rewards. My Archimedes will gently crawl to me and asked to be petted on his head. The moment I call my female ringnecks, they quickly tilt their head and gladly come to me without hesitation. And my sweet Osiris, he is like my parasite. In fact, I can't think of a time they've ever denied my affection.

By the way, I made a total of $17.39 on advertising on IndianRingneck.com this month. :) That's quite a lot, don't you think? :-j

Best wishes,

IMRAN-C

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby InTheAir » Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:53 pm

To clarify: I did not say asking a bird to step up is aggressive. I also expect my birds to step up, fly to me and go to their cages. It is essential behaviour that needs to be reliable. It is perfectly possible to teach a reliable step up by using positive reinforcement without any use of coercion. If my birds choose to ignore me when they are napping, that's fine as I have strategies up my sleeve to excite them into waking up and doing what I wanted anyway, without the use of force. I trained my dog to reliably come when called in the same manner. Seen a video of it being done with alligators too.
I was using stepping up as an example because it is a very common subject that people seek out help with their young ringnecks. It is usually a very easy and clear example of ABCs of behaviour and it is easy to modify the behaviour of both bird and handler in the early stages.
Labelling the bird as "bluffing" is not addressing the fundamental problem.

I am not confusing Alexanderines with indian ringnecks. Though I have spoken to to several owners of Alexandrines who believe their birds went through "bluffing". This does illustrate the danger of a label. As both Dr Freidman and Hillary Hanky alluded to, there was a school of thought in bird training that a bird who didn't do what it was told was "having you on" or "bluffing". This was over many species of parrots. This school of thought has largely been abandoned in favour of more effective methods.

Many young parrots of different species, especially with inexperienced owners, do actually bite at times. There are factors that contribute to every incident and each should be addressed on a situational basis. Honestly, even the best of the best bird trainers have been bitten and learned from it.

I have spent quite a bit of my life learning about training and observing animal behaviour. I have met horse trainers who insist the only way to break a horse to saddle is to tie up a leg, restrict their movement and make them accept it. I have met trainers (and done so myself) who teach a horse to wear a saddle through pairing pleasant experiences with the saddle and rider.
I can't tell you if my birds like me. They may be trained circus monkeys that only sit on me, sleep on me and groom me, hang off me because they want something. I don't mind ;)

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby boggies » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:40 pm

Hello Claire and Imran,

I believe you both have excellent points in respect to positive reinforcement.

However, I would have to disagree with Claire’s statement. “Notice the feathers moving around the eyes, pinning eyes? Retreat!” Personally, I find this statement not true for various reasons. First it should be noted my Indian ring neck pins his eyes all of the time—especially when he is interacting with me or is in front of a mirror. The eye movement in my opinion helps them communicate as they cannot make facial expressions like primates and humans. So if you are using moving feathers and pinning eyes as a way of determining if your parrot is going to bite; you probably don’t hold them much.

Additionally, I have a female Indian rink neck named Camry who pins her eyes and clucks when I am petting her. She is so in love with me it is crazy. She pins her eyes and bows to show me her affection. Claire, I would be cautious how you deliver information on this forum. Especially to newbies who have never had an Indian ring neck. Eye expression has nothing to do with aggression. It is just a form of commutation. Eye pinning can be either aggressive or affectionate behavior. An experienced Indian ring neck owner would have known this and so would a trainer like you.

In respect to MisK’s posting, I would also have to disagree with her statement. She stated, “Some people, myself included, believe this bluffing story is a myth.” Since we are on the topic about hand fed parrots going through a bluffing stage, I wanted to point out that parrots which are handfed should be accustomed to human interaction. It is a normal phenomenon for parrots to bite in my opinion. I would have to agree with Imran on this topic as parrots at times are known for their aggression and bluffing during their adolescence stage. It is not until they get a bit older they become less likely to bite. Provided they like the owner respectively. Since we are all parrot enthusiasts on this forum, we all know parrots bite regardless of our relationships with them. They even get aggressive with their mates in the wild and fight regularly. If anyone says a parrot does not bite you must be talking about a goldfish. I have bred parrots for about 15 years now and seen firsthand how parrots bite off toes and break beaks—especially when they are fighting. Almost all animals perform some type of aggression to show dominance or compete for resources. Whether it is for food or real estate. These parrots are no acceptation when it comes to survival of the fittest.

Imran since you are posting your financial information on here you need to open a fundraiser like Wikipedia does. I am sure there are many bird enthusiasts who support your network. I would love to donate to your websites. You have done an extraordinary job on creating a network where we can all discuss Indian ring necks and parrot behavior. Honestly, there was not much information online until you created your website. I am sure Claire and I appreciate such talented individuals like you who devote your time to these exquisite little parrots.

Wish you both the best of luck on your Indian ring necks and what a wonderful discussion.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby Misty_Anikin » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:50 am

I just read these posts on bluffing and will share my experience of being an Indian Ringeck owner for over 13 years and my very REAL bluffing experience. In addition, I have been able to observe and interact with IRN parrots from hatchlings to adulthood for over a decade. I also own and have interacted with several different types of parrots and personalities. :)

I disagree with the posts saying bluffing is a myth:

"Some people, myself included, believe this bluffing story is a myth" (MissK)
"I don't subscribe to the "bluffing" theory at all. Nor do my 2 ringnecks" (InTheAir)

I am almost shocked anyone who has studied IRN's in depth would simply say it is not a real behavior. I understand that IRN owners may misinterpret bluffing when they actually might be mishandling or coercing them, but to say altogether owner's need to handle their birds better because bluffing is not a real thing is not the full story. I will also note though that too many people get parrots and don't expect the amount of work or time that goes in to these animals and soon discard or mistreat them. So the emphasis on positive reinforcement is welcome.

I think it is great that we can all share our opinions and experiences as that is the point of this forum so we can learn from each other. Part of me thinks it's silly to write such a matter of fact post and feel that it is concrete information to share with another owner who may not know or have had the experience with IRN parrots--it's misleading in my eyes. Bluffing explains many situations. I do also agree that positive reinforcement is key, and any animal, regardless of species will respond better to positive reinforcement every time over fear or force. This is not to say that some owners are ignorant or inexperienced and will be forceful with their birds resulting in fearful biting, lunging, and unwanted behavior...thus making sense when bluffing is misdiagnosed. Sometimes our fellow humans are the ones who need the training rather than the animals themselves. Animals will usually follow suit to our behaviors and personalities. :)

This is a completely different beast though when discussing bluffing. Bluffing is a behavior the IRN (and some other types of parrots) display at some point in their early life. Not 100% of IRN's, but many of them. Partly I think IRN's, although amazing and loving are also very feisty compared to other types of parrots. They are quick to let you know what they think, what they want, and what they like! Because of their feisty personalities (obviously some are not as feisty as others etc) people assume they are bluffing when in fact they are just performing instinctive behaviors of an IRN.

I have strong feelings towards people who say bluffing is a myth because my little bird Anikin who I raised from a small chick went through this stage. From the very beginning I respected Anikin's space, I was always positive with him, I let him sit with me when he wanted and I let him go to his stand or cage when he pleased. But one day was very different, nothing changed in his routine, my behavior was the same, etc. Then the bluffing began! I was surprised at first because I figured my bird wouldn't go through that "bluffing" stage simply because I gave him so much love and respect and even boundaries as any animal has in the wild.

I learned to overcome this stage by ignoring the unwanted behavior but I still treated my little bird as I had always done. I didn't want him to think that his unwanted biting, lunging, and screaming was acceptable. I would not react to his screaming or give him treats during this time as well. I would simply distract him when he did try to bite or lunge or not move my hand away, even if he did actually bite me. He soon learned his biting and lunging had no affect on me and that I would not bring him any harm just affection, treats, and trips outside. Anikin learned that his pleasant behavior got him what he wanted and he began to relax and become his happy and loving old self.

Sometimes other animals and birds test each other, just because they have a flock mentality does not mean that there isn't rank or place within it or even dominate personalities. Animals like people may respect boundaries most of the time, but there are those times where lines will be crossed and tested.

It was a bit frustrating during the bluffing because my sweet little bird who was once so happy to be handled got a bit mean and seemed as if he didn't want interaction, but in the end he was even better than before. I would call him from downstairs and he would fly up to my office and sit on my shoulder so I would pet him and he would talk for hours.
Many people I came into contact with or people who saw my bird who also had and an IRN would be amazed at how sweet my bird was and how much he loved for me to pet him. They would tell me "oh my bird just bites me or he won't let me touch him, etc.
I learned that sadly because people don't know about bluffing and the complex and intricate behaviors of these birds that they just assume they have a bad or mean bird on their hands. But I think that most IRN go through this stage and if owners knew about bluffing from the start there would be more successful relationships between IRN owners and their birds.

I am not just basing this assertion on my experience with my one Indian Ringneck. I have had the pleasure of observing many ringneck chicks from hatching to adulthood. I can tell you that almost every one of these chicks went through a bluffing period and some worse than others. Some IRN acted like total monsters while others only seemed to be annoyed or in warning mode. But in the end all of these birds turned out very loyal and loving towards their owner(s). My point is that most likely as an IRN owner you will go through the bluffing experience and the key is not whether or not it will happen but when it does happen how to calmly deal with it in a positive non provoking manner. The worst thing an owner can do is stop interaction with their bird because they are bluffing.

As Imran-C has made very clear unwanted behaviors should not be enforced but ignored and that only positive behavior should be enforced with treats, praise, etc. Remember, many of the behaviors these birds show are only instinctive and as IRN owners we have to learn how to navigate according to what is best for our birds.

I have definitely seen this behavior in too many IRN parrots, in both male and females, to dismiss the silly notion that it is a myth. I believe that my fellow IRN researchers and observers have established that bluffing is in fact a real thing. Ignoring a stage like bluffing and not dealing with this properly is like allowing your toddler in their terrible twos to run a muck and grow up thinking that their bad behavior is acceptable and wanted. Then you have a mess on your hands and the same applies to IRN. Does every human child go through this stage? NO, but many do. Does it mean that the terrible twos behavior is a myth? Ask mom's around the world regardless of language or culture and I guarantee the resounding answer will be YES, it does exist. Does this mean that the parents are forcing unwanted behaviors on their child, maybe is some cases, but in a setting of a loving home with understanding and caring parents, I doubt it.

The point is simply that bluffing is a behavior that I have seen in my observation and this can happen even when a safe, loving, non provoking environment is provided. We just need to work through these tough situations with our IRN's according to each situation and individual personality.


I hope that any newbies, whether they agree with the behavior of bluffing or not will always practice patience and positive reinforcement and if "bluffing" type behavior is displayed that a loving and patient approach is taken.

I hope my experience has shed some light on this subject. My life wouldn't be the same without my sweet little bird. And I believe my successful relationship with my IRN is partly because I acknowledged the bluffing stage and dealt with it appropriately.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby sanjays mummi » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:11 am

Goodness!, Reading these posts makes me feel very honoured to have an IRN who has only bitten once, just after I got him and through stress, yet has Never bitten or even lunged at me since. :-bd

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:10 pm

Ha ha ha ha! They are such amazing little monsters--I think we can all agree on that! :ymapplause:

I think our passion comes through as we are all obsessed with our ringnecks! :D

Best wishes,

IMRAN-C

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby InTheAir » Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:51 pm

Yep, Imran, we all have that in common!


I did not put a lot of effort into describing body language in my first post, just an oversimplified example of some easy to spot signs. Yes, they are similar to arousal and a bad choice by myself as not so relevant to young birds.
I will correct above post.

Here is a good example of why I dislike the labelling "bluffing":
http://youtu.be/a_qqILi8X3k

As you can see this bird is trying to avoid confrontation and is being pushed/chased until it does react by biting. If the person involved started with the mindset of "what can I do to make stepping up attractive to the bird right now" there are a few things she could have done which would have resulted in the bird stepping up and very likely staying on her hand. There is nothing wrong with luring a young bird onto your hand with a treat. You can then phase out the lure and provide reinforcers after the behaviour. If using food as a reinforcer, eventually you can use them less often and still maintain the behaviour. There are usually other things the bird likes that can be used, peekaboo, funny voices etc.

Interestingly, receiving food treats can change the emotional state of an animal. Who else has been in a bad mood with their partner only to find the mood melts away when he/her arrives bearing chocolate?
There is a very nice video of Sophia Yin using food treats to change a small dog's reaction to having her blow in it's face. At the start of training the dog is lunging when she huffs near it, by the end she is blowing in it's face enough to move it's ears with her breath and the dog is comfortable and non reactive. It is on her youtube channel. I've tried it on a certain hen that belongs to a friend and found it effective for lessening her "nervousness/fear" of strangers which resulted in less "aggressive behaviour". It is also the basis of how I worked with Sapphire when I got her, when she started to associate my approach with good things her "nervousness" around me faded out. If you would prefer me to write this in more observational terms I may have time on monday, but I'm sure you get the gist.
Please note: I am not suggesting one should reward the bird after a bite. I am suggesting that we can easily turn a neutral experience for the bird into a good one.

Here is another of youtube's finest:
http://youtu.be/EhnyXlNBbes

Once again we see a situation which could easily have been defused beford it escalated. I tried waving a finger at Nila from his blind spot, while he was preening after finding that video a few years ago. He started and displayed the same postures as that bird when he turned around and saw a finger had crept so close unnoticed. Nila is very accepting of a lot of things, but being caught unaware caused him to display aggression as a self-defensive strategy immediately on noticing the finger.
A popular example which parallels an animal's reaction to an object that has been placed in it's space while it has lowered it's vigilance is the "Cats and Cucumbers" video.

The human in the latter video did not appear to have any reason to pursue the bird that I could comprehend. By startling the bird with an innocuous item (finger) and then pursuing the bird with it, despite the bird showing multiple signs that of discomfort, she is not making fingers approaching very attractive to the bird.

By both of these humans approaching behaviour they don't like from their birds by labelling it "bluffing" they missed the opportunity to interpret the birds body language and adjust their approach to create a response they desire. :(

I do not grasp the mindset of expecting our parrots to obey our every command just because we told them to. Certain factors of ideology have an impact on my view of this. I do not desire a pair bond with either of my birds, I have that with my human boyfriend. Even bonded pairs will have different ideas at times, so even if my birds were sexually imprinted on me it does not justify to me that they should do my bidding at all times with no further motivators. I like that they have each other for social purposes as well as adult bird activities if they are that way inclined. Both birds still play with me, nap on me etc so I am still part of their social life.
I don't use dominance based training methods. Dominance hierarchies in parrots are not well studied or understood and, more importantly, I don't need to use dominance to get the behaviour I want. Both my parrots have been fully flighted their whole lives, which makes the use of force incredibly difficult to use at times. Like when they land on are 6m high windowsill or light fitting. I probably can't dominate them down, but I can convince them I'm worth flying to.
Remember height dominance theory? A human interpretation of bird behaviour that was actually dead wrong. Luckily people have realised that the entire premise is flawed and we seldom hear it being recommended now.

That's a bit more of my 2c

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby AJPeter » Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:30 pm

Not wishing to incur anymore hatred l aggree with Imran, bribes to control animal behaviour is just as horrible to me l have never trained my bird she steps up if she wants to, she has never bluffed, bite first and ask questions later is her motto, but we have a lovely relationship she understands every word l say except "Not now, later!" I rather hope that if she were to escape she could survive in the wild as she is wild, a bird that can play human games is not going to do well in the woods. I know Imran and Claire have years of looking after IRN and other specis but l bet they do not hold a diploma from City of London Guilds on aninmal husbandry and Pet shop management? I do. I would ask only that post are less verbose, and l note that we are all different our birds are all different too what is good for one is not good for another.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Sat Apr 02, 2016 9:51 pm

Hello Claire,

Claire, I think the difference between you and I comes down to both of our training styles. I can attribute this disagreement as two mothers bickering about how to raise a child correctly. As I've said, I'm a huge advocate for positive reinforcement training as I've seen remarkable results. It seems from my perspective that you are all about positive reinforcement, and that's okay. Like I've said before, you have done an amazing job on both your ringnecks. That being said, I have to stop and look through your lens as to why you're so passionate about your training styles. Not only that, part of your personality strives to look for alternate ways to better the lives of these birds. And because you have done a wonderful job, in your mind, and through your experience working with your two ringnecks, you are convinced this is what works.

But from my angle, I get tons of emails from people that I console about aggressive ringnecks, or problematic issues, that I must tackle or the bird pays the price. Believe me when I tell you it's a juggling act as my personal email box is always full, I stop on the forum to answer a few questions, and social media is a monster in itself. You would not believe the crazy stories I've heard, or the outlandish tactics people do to change the birds behavior. Often times, I'm left speechless and perplexed! But, i don't judge, i just try to work through it. :-\

Again, I don't mean to perpetuate this disagreement further; however, I know in the past we have disagreed on quite a few issues about ringnecks. But, that's quite okay with me because I believe this forum has nothing but wonderful minds that help to "decipher" these mysterious birds. And readers who read your opinion, and my opinion, must choose what works for them--they'll either agree with you, me, or fall in-between.

Also, the examples you provided don't seem detrimental to ringneck handling during the bluffing stage. The first example lovingly showcased a lady working through her ringnecks aggressive behavior. I know you've heard the term gentle dominance before, correct? If not, check it out. Though it may be an older concept, I strongly believe it works in conjunction with positive reinforcement. I do agree that some training methods are outdated such as the height issue you mentioned, but as much as you and I agree it's a dated training method, I know others will agree that it is in fact a reality. I guess we can't win.

Anyway, this was a fun debate and I think we both got our points across--till next time :))

Best wishes, ;)

IMRAN-C

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:00 pm

AJPeter,

Thanks for your input buddy! I know things got a little heated and wordy, but I think we were both trying to get our points across. =)) =)) You're always so laid-back and I we love that about you. B-)

It's true you are one very knowledgeable individual! Always love reading your posts! B-)

Also thanks sanjays mummi, boggies, and Misty_Anikin.... 8-}

Best wishes, ;)

IMRAN-C

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby InTheAir » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:25 pm

You're right Imran, we both strive to give the best for our birds in our own way! How could you not, they are just awesome and deserve it! I have not done a wonderful job with my birds, I strive to learn and improve every day. Anyone who can read, has the interest in learning and observing can have a great relationship with their birds. It's not that special and is achievable for anyone. The only thing I have that not everyone has is a bird like Nila who thrives on learning and loves doing tricks. I don't even teach him anymore, I just ask "can you do this?" and he does... All the principles are just science.... you know, learning from studies on learning, behaviour, ethology etc (though the latter in ringnecks is more than sparse). It works with EVERY species of animal, even reptiles.

The "bluffing" story really upsets me because all over the place there are people who have heard about it and, just like in the videos I posted, use that story as why their ringneck is behaving that way despite the fact that the bird is only defending itself from a situation it does not like/feel comfortable with. Weeks/months even years later they are looking for help with a "bluffing" ringneck, which only bites as an offensive-self defense. The whole issue is completely avoidable with the help of some self assessment and a little learning theory :)
It is even worse when someone has told them "never pull away from a bite", which amazingly people still say!

I won't do it myself, as there are waaaaay to many surplus ringnecks looking for homes where I live, but it would be nice to see a breeder put some serious effort into breeding for temperament and "tameness" to create domesticated ringnecks. Nila's father's line is pet quality, but he was paired with any old hen that was cheap and a pretty colour. Nila's mother's name is not suitable to say in public as it is an expletive. Nila had 2 siblings that were so flighty despite being hand raised that the breeder sold them as aviary birds. There are problems in the industry that set new owners and young ringnecks up badly! It is very sad for the birds!

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby MissK » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:21 am

While this thread has been made of rather dense text, I don't mind. I feel we sometimes have to use a lot of words to express our details and our passions about the topics at hand. I've semi-enjoyed perusing the discussion lightly, as must be, given that I'm reading it at the end of a long work day and in the middle of the night. However, I do appreciate an in-depth discussion. Having said what I had to say, I would not have contributed any more to this interesting debate, had not my own name come up.

I must say I was a bit surprised and put off by boggies disagreeing with my statement. (I'm also amazed that the statement was properly quoted, and then used to introduce a discussion of something else.) That statement, that some people, myself included, believe bluffing is a myth is absolutely true. I believe it is a myth. Claire believes it is a myth. If nobody else, anywhere, shared that opinion, the fact that Claire and I share this opinion supports my claim that some people have this belief.

I am similarly taken aback to hear that Misty Anikin disagrees with the same statement, for much the same reason, regardless of how strongly this person feels about people saying that bluffing is a myth.

I took care in my post to present my concept, that not everyone believes bluffing is real, specifically without making any absolute statement about the actual fact or fiction of bluffing behaviour. This is why I made an assertion and explanation about my beliefs. This is why I presented thought-provoking questions. This is why I recommended further study. If I had intended to say that the notion of bluffing was positively not true, I would have said that instead. I did intend to introduce the idea that the notion of bluffing is controversial and does not have universal endorsement so that Sunset may be aware.

I do appreciate that people took the time to read my opinion. I particularly appreciate Imran taking time to scratch the surface of answering my questions. I would love to hear a fuller explanation, as that response was clearly written in a rush and begs clarification to my mind. Hearing that someone's bird bluffed is not nearly so compelling to me as an understanding of the biological hows and whys might be. However, being a busy person, myself, I respect that Imran may simply not have the time.
-MissK

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:45 pm

Claire,

Could you imagine if we bred for personality rather then mutations! ? It's funny you mentioned about Nila's bloodline as I was writing about taming vs domestication for my book...I was reading an amazing study in Russia about scientists domesticating foxes -- it only took less than 50 years! If i did not have neighbors I would totally jump into this!

Best wishes,

IMRAN-C

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:08 pm

MissK,

I love watching these birds during late spring as these birds accumulate in large flocks--you have the juveniles and the parents interacting and it's an amazing phenomena.

One time, I had showed up to a park and the birds were all over the benches and tables . I cannot believe how many ringnecks were present. I was literally like a child in a candy shop! I mean these birds were everywhere! I would look up in the trees and there would be tons of birds there as well. Really, it was a spectacle to see! It was the perfect opportunity to relax and watch them go about their business.

While watching many of them, the babies seemed skittish and aggressive while competing with the adult birds for food. If a bird got too close to their portion of food many of the babies quickly reacted by opening their beaks and raising their back feathers. Most of the adult birds moved away; however, some of the more aggressive females had no problem standing up to some of the aggressive behavior exhibited by the juveniles.

In that moment, to me, it was like a light blub went off, it was obvious as to why these birds exhibited "bluffing." Then, when I had the privilege of watching these birds roost for the night I saw the babies become highly agitated. It seemed from my perspective, when there was too much overcrowding, most of the babies reacted by again opening their beak and raising their back feathers.

Thankfully, the younger juveniles have black eyes, gray feet, and shorter tales. Not only were their physical differences, but I could see the babies were less coordinated. Many of the adult birds were able to maneuver in the air and on the ground with ease. I found the babies to be a bit more clumsy, nevertheless, they were able to get about.

I'm going to try to get footage this late spring. The drive is about two and a half hours away from my home, but it's something I enjoy doing. Besides, I need to get photos for another project I'm working on as well and footage. Hopefully time will not get the best of me this year!

Best wishes,

IMRAN-C

P.S. I wish we had feral ringneck in my area but we only have amazons and conures--still amazing, but my heart is with these birds. :))

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby MissK » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:39 pm

Imran, thanks for the account of watching the flock. It must have been magical.. :D
I look forward to seeing video if you do manage to get some. We do know that multiple babies in a group must compete for food. Food for thought.......
-MissK

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby sanjays mummi » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:22 am

Imran, we don't have feral Ringnecks in this area of the UK, but we have plenty of the ubiquitous pigeons, and Starlings, on many occasions I have been in town, and shared my lunch with them, Not by casting food, they have literally taken food offered, from my hand, the Starlings literally perch on me!. But when there are youngsters viying for food, they are quite aggressive. I still cannot equate this rivalry with the descriptions of "Bluffing" I have read.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby AJPeter » Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:45 am

Ruffled feathers back in place let s get on with keeping our birds safe and helping those people in need of advice. :D

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:17 am

Sanjay’s Mummi,

That’s quite okay. :)

It’s okay to agree to disagree. You have to remember i’ve worked with so many ringnecks, and from my perspective and my research, it’s a reality. Besides, there is a reason these birds were deemed “not good pets” at one time. And there is a reason conures or other more “cuddly” birds are preferred, especially in the pet industry. I could list myth after myth about ringnecks.

I will say though that some conure species become highly nippy after weaning as well too. But, I say this with a grain of salt as conures have a whole different social structure, and truthly i have not watched them enough to understand their behaviors or make statements about it--with the exception of green cheeks; however, that’s only in captive form.

But I do see the world through your eyes I might add. You’ve had one amazing ringneck, who’s a male--never bluffed I take it. Plus, feeding a few birds in the park has your mind locked on the notion that bluffing is a myth, even though they are different species, all with different behaviors.

I obviously can’t make you a believer, and i’m not trying to. My only motive for debating this thread was to ensure another voice was heard on the topic--someone who has experienced it, watched it in action, and helped others ride this out.

Perhaps this topic is like religion and politics--everyone thinks different, huh?

I think it comes down to people reading our posts and finding what works for them. :)

Cheers! ~o)

IMRAN-C

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:18 am

AJPeter,

Ha ha ha ha! I had to chime in! =)) =)) =))

Always the voice of reason! :) We Need you!!! B-)

Best wishes,

IMRAN-C

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby InTheAir » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:19 am

Hi again Imran,

After reading your post on your observations of flock dynamics, I think we are not clear on the topic we are discussing.

This is what myself, and several others are referring to:

You have just purchased your new Indian Ringneck and all is going well. Within days or weeks after settling into its new environment, your playful sweet parrot has turned into a monster. His eyes will pin (when the pupil constricts to a tiny dot) and you receive many nasty bites. These bites seem relentless and you cannot seem to get them to stop, even approaching the cage might trigger your ringneck to get aggressive.

You start to take the attacks personal, so you believe it is better to keep your parrot in his cage for awhile. You sit and wonder why your new handfed Indian Rigneck is biting because you feel you have done everything for him. Many questions run through your mind. Have I done something wrong? Does he hate me now? Is he going to be like this forever? Feeling helpless and confused, you have no idea what to do next or why this happened. Welcome to the topic of bluffing!

Indian Ringnecks go through a special stage after being weaned that may cause them to be aggressive.


This is a very different topic from what you have described above about the juvenile body language in a resource competition environment. Juveniles of several types of social animals do have specific posturing that is used towards adults.

Did you watch the videos I posted? The ringnecks in those videos clearly display similiar postures at the first approach of the humans hand to what you have described, from what I can tell. Is that correct?
If a bird got too close to their portion of food many of the babies quickly reacted by opening their beaks and raising their back feathers.


Watch the video a little further and you will notice the birds back away from the hand after the initial posture. Is this what you observed if an adult bird continues to approach the young bird?
In the videos I have shared above, the parrots escalate their posturing to lunging forward and biting after continued approach and withdrawl of the hand.

I would also like to know what method you have used to come to the conclusion that this posturing in young birds is not an appeasement signal, used by young birds to reduce aggression towards them from older flock members when foraging? The nutritional needs of a young bird to be met as it is weaning are crucial for their survival. It is in the flocks best interest that young members survive and go on to reproduce.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby sanjays mummi » Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:41 pm

Imran, are you saying female IRN's don't bluff?. Because I have long suspected "Sanjay" aka Sweetie is female, Any species of bird will bite if pushed to it, just as any breed of dog or cat would, animals defend themselves, it's what they do. But, personally I have always respected my pets, never put them in the position where they felt threatened, I did not say I thought bluffing was a.myth, simply that I have never experienced it. Whilst it is always a good idea to give potential owners the downside of keeping a particular species or breed, it is only fair to speak as one finds, which is what I have done. Bluffing, I believe, is subjective.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:18 pm

Claire,

I think you're nitpicking and looking for ways to disprove bluffing, but i know you don't believe in it. :)

When I wrote that article, I centered it around the notion of captive Indian Ringnecks. For example, it's been proven that many parrots stop a behavior, then resume it once they adjust to their surroundings. So, if a ringneck moves into a new environment (new home, new owner) naturally it's going to change its behavior until it feels confident enough to start bluffing again.

Also, the behavior was NOT used as a means to appease other flock mates, this I'm sure of! I think it was obvious by their interaction--both from the babies point of view and adults -- aggression is aggression. Let's bring some logic into this for a second. Do you let a dog stand there and bite your leg? Naturally, you're going to react and most likely it's to either run or to protect yourself, correct? It's the same with the adult Indian Ringnecks too.

Also, I don't think the adults were appeasing the babies, logically speaking from my knowledge about typical ringneck behavior. In the wild, every animal usually runs with the concept--every man for himself / survival of the fittest. I don't think that adult birds care to much about offspring that's not theirs. Most adult birds are either worried about feeding only themselves, their young, or their mates--not other babies. So, I'm sure it's not an appeasement on behalf of the adults birds making way for the new offspring. I wish these bird's had that much empathy! =((

I don't know if you believe this or not, but aggression is a real behavior exhibited by ringnecks. In fact, these birds are sometimes cold and callous. Heck, I've come across heartless situations such as females killing their mates, parents starving their young, or territorial fighting.

But back to what I was saying, many of the adult birds quickly scurried away when presented with bluffing juveniles--with the exception of highly aggressive females. The only time I could see this behavior being an appeasement would be if it were directed towards juveniles and their parents (their parents self-sacrificing their needs for their babies). But, it was not, as the younger birds were reacting to all other flock mates in the same manner.

An appeasement would be a baby bobbing it's head, making whiny sounds, or cooing after being fed. It's gentile and relaxed and there is no aggressive stance or wide open beak when a baby is showing it's *contentness (I made that word up ha ha ha ha :)) =)) ) . Babies who are being fed often flap their wings and beg and bob their head--these were not doing that. These were totally weaned ringnecks who had to compete to survive.

So, what was my conclusion that this bluffing behavior was not an appeasement? I don't think the bird's want their tails ripped off, toes bitten, or to increase their chances of getting injured, for such a scuffle is highly costly. Aggression is a real natural behavior in ringnecks.

Besides, I'm going to update that article soon, just not yet as for the time being it works. I've been a huge advocate of changing my material as I learn things. I'm not scared to admit I'm wrong. I think in parrots we are always learning and learning and learning. But, I'm confident enough about my stance of bluffing.

For example, I once preached that it was okay to take the bites of a biting bird during bluffing--that was just crazy!!!!!

Besides, in my upcoming book, I'm going to introduce a few new concepts for ringneck keeping--the taming triangle, plus give my readers many alternative training methods besides just positive reinforcement. I know it's going to ruffle a few feathers, but I'm okay with that. I want to provide many training techniques and let my readers find one that suits them. \:D/

I'll cover another new concept too I call pattern training, and reiterate other forms of training methods that worked. It's a huge undertaking but I wanted make a book that's not generic. I don't want to talk to much about the book though or the concepts i casually mentioned--just not yet.

Anyway just my two cents, :D

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:35 pm

No, I am not saying that females don't bluff. I said every bird is different. Some bluff more than others. But, I do believe it tends to be stronger in females, but this could be due their matriarchal behavior.

But, personally I have always respected my pets, never put them in the position where they felt threatened, I did not say I thought bluffing was a.myth, simply that I have never experienced it. Whilst it is always a good idea to give potential owners the downside of keeping a particular species or breed, it is only fair to speak as one finds, which is what I have done. Bluffing, I believe, is subjective.


Awesome!!! That's perfect! That's what we strive for at IndianRingneck.com--every person has to raise and handle their ringnecks to their standards! As I've said, it's a lot like raising children. \:D/ \:D/

Best wishes,

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby InTheAir » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:53 pm

I'm very pleased to hear you are evolving in your approach to bird handling and the advice you are putting out there. It is unfortunate that other sites appear to have copied your old article, and "taking" bites is still promoted on some ringneck social media groups. Even though there much more effective ways of dealing with unwanted behaviour.

As you have now stated that the piece that I quoted from your website is no longer in line with your current views, I am more than slightly perplexed on what you now regard as "bluffing".

It appears that I am not communicating my point clearly, or you may be constructing ideas which you think apply to me. I am not denying that any creature is incapable of aggression. I have consistently stated that one should watch and respond to a bird's body language. That a pet owner is best served by analysing the situation which elicited the behaviour. This allows them to avoid, minimise and/or modify the behaviour.

I have not heard of hens killing their mates in free ranging situations. This trait is not unknown in several types of parrot kept in captivity. I have read some evidence that forced pairings and restricted space is thought to be implicated in this. There are several behaviours in captive breed parrots that are not shown in wild parrots, feather plucking for example.

There have been several studies on empathy in non human animals that indicate species studied show empathetic behaviour towards conspecifics. Please do not construe my statement to mean that I expect my parrots to provide a shoulder for me to cry on if my boyfriend dumps me. There are evolutionary benefits in altruism in some instances. It is a subject that requires further study and I'm watching it closely.

These questions are still relevant:
1) Did you get a chance watch the videos I posted? The ringnecks in those videos clearly display similiar postures at the first approach of the humans hand to what you have described, from what I can tell. Is that correct?

2) In the videos I have shared above, initially the parrot reacts and then retreats slightly.
The parrots escalate their posturing to lunging forward and biting after continued approach and withdrawl of the hand.
What is your take on this?

3) What is the most common behavioural response you have observed from adult birds confronted by a juvenile that is showing the described posture?

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby ringneck » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:04 am

I'm very pleased to hear you are evolving in your approach to bird handling and the advice you are putting out there. It is unfortunate that other sites appear to have copied your old article, and "taking" bites is still promoted on some ringneck social media groups. Even though there much more effective ways of dealing with unwanted behaviour.


Why thank you! I think it's something we all need to be doing in the parrot community--even the "experts.". ;)

As you have now stated that the piece that I quoted from your website is no longer in line with your current views, I am more than slightly perplexed on what you now regard as "bluffing".


Again, you're nitpicking Claire. I never stated the article was completely wrong, just a bit dated. In fact, the part that you quoted I agree completely with.

It appears that I am not communicating my point clearly, or you may be constructing ideas which you think apply to me. I am not denying that any creature is incapable of aggression. I have consistently stated that one should watch and respond to a bird's body language. That a pet owner is best served by analysing the situation which elicited the behaviour. This allows them to avoid, minimise and/or modify the behaviour.


Claire, I never said that you believed that ringnecks don't exhibit aggressive behavior. I simply used the example to perhaps persuade you that bluffing might be an aggressive behavior that's natural to ringnecks. Sometimes people don't want to believe certain traits about their pets because we humans tend to distort reality. For example, someone who says a chimp is very loving then rips someone's face off, or a tiger who has turned on its owner.

I have not heard of hens killing their mates in free ranging situations. This trait is not unknown in several types of parrot kept in captivity. I have read some evidence that forced pairings and restricted space is thought to be implicated in this. There are several behaviours in captive breed parrots that are not shown in wild parrots, feather plucking for example.


I've not heard of parrots killing their mates either in the wild. In fact, this might be something only captive birds to. I never said it was something naturally occurring in wild ringnecks.

You have to remember captivity is highly unnatural to ringnecks, so that being said, these birds will adapt and change their behavior. A bird who is not liked can easily get killed as it cannot escape cage bars.

There have been several studies on empathy in non human animals that indicate species studied show empathetic behaviour towards conspecifics. Please do not construe my statement to mean that I expect my parrots to provide a shoulder for me to cry on if my boyfriend dumps me. There are evolutionary benefits in altruism in some instances. It is a subject that requires further study and I'm watching it closely.


Cool! I would love to read them! Make sure to push a few links my way! Again, I think this goes back to me using ringneck aggression as a means to help explain overall ringneck behavior. Perhaps you mistook my response?

I've already answered a few of these questions for you, but since there is so much text moving back and forth and you believe I'm not being clear, I'll gladly re-answer.

These questions are still relevant:
1) Did you get a chance watch the videos I posted? The ringnecks in those videos clearly display similiar postures at the first approach of the humans hand to what you have described, from what I can tell. Is that correct?

I did get a chance to watch them. I don't think there is anything wrong with either of the videos you provided. I think you're being critical of these other owners because they are not along your lines of ringneck keeping.

Here is what I said in a previous reply about the first situation..I'll quote it for you in case you missed it.

Also, the examples you provided don't seem detrimental to ringneck handling during the bluffing stage. The first example lovingly showcased a lady working through her ringnecks aggressive behavior. I know you've heard the term gentle dominance before, correct? If not, check it out. Though it may be an older concept, I strongly believe it works in conjunction with positive reinforcement. I do agree that some training methods are outdated such as the height issue you mentioned, but as much as you and I agree it's a dated training method, I know others will agree that it is in fact a reality. I guess we can't win.


As for the second video, I see nothing wrong with it. The young lady did not ambush her bird and scare it. We can tell through its body language as it was preening while she was talking to it and filming. In fact, I took that video piece as the bird knowing she was in the room and only reacted that way once she tried to touch her bird.

Yes, she could have bribed the bird with a treat but she did not. Her intentions were not evil nor forceful. She came from a loving human perspective and tried to sweet talk the bird. Being touched by a human hand is unnatural and maybe the bird mistook that wiggling finger as something aggressive--it's hyper agitated anyways during this bluffing stage.

In the 2nd example I might add, I would think you would be happy as the young lady assessed the overall behavior of her bird then lets the bird choose to be handled--I don't get why you're upset? I believe this is absolutely along your lines of thinking. Didn't you just tell me the owner should watch the bird's behavior before handing the bird to avoid getting bitten? The owner did just that.

So you asked what I would have done? Had it been me, I would have used gentile dominance to ask the bird to step up. If that did not work, I would have distracted the bird, or bribed it with a grape/treat. I believe this is important during the bluffing stage because the bird is learning "flock" rules.

Had it been you, you would have used positive reinforcement to encourage the bird to step up, and if the bird refused, you would let it be. Because in your eyes, the bird does not feel like being bothered. I am I correct? I'm not saying your way is bad, nor am I'm judging it, but I strongly believe there are many avenues to dealing with a bluffing ringneck.

Again, the young lady never did anything wrong--she was simply doting over her bird and when the bird did not want her around--she backed away.

It seems, and I might be wrong, but this is what I have come to conclude from our lengthy discussion. If an owner is not in compliance with only practicing positive reinforcement training it upsets you-- our brings about a great deal of frustration. But, I say this frustration is like a mother who gives her child sugar and another mother who refuses to. What's right for you is not right for others I always say. Every bird is different, every situation, every trainer, and every environment.

For example, taking an untame ringneck into a quiet room and working with it, or clipping a bird's wings to make it more dependent upon you then letting them regrow, using positive reinforcement to convince the bird you're a friend--they all work--the end result is usually a bird who bonds to its owner. You have to remember Claire, these tactics have worked in the past, but because you are a huge advocate for only positive reinforcement, and so am I, there are other paths to achieving a tame ringneck.

I agree positive reinforcement is amazing and I'm not denying that! Heck, It even works on goldfish! I'm just saying logically, we can't discard those other tactics as I've seen them work first hand, that's all.

2) In the videos I have shared above, initially the parrot reacts and then retreats slightly.

The parrots escalate their posturing to lunging forward and biting after continued approach and withdrawl of the hand.
What is your take on this?

My take is simple, I'm a huge advocate for gentile dominance--this means asking the bird to step up without a treat. Over time the bird will come to understand household rules and will do so without thinking, or making a big issue about it. Asking the bird to step up is not aggressive and is a perfect example of gentile dominance.

Here was a blurb from my previous responses.

Now, I think where we can agree to disagree is that in your eyes asking the bird to step up is deemed "aggressive." This I have to disagree with you. I believe this is a basic fundamental behavior that should be mastered while the baby is being socialized. Asking the bird to step up is hardly aggressive, and I'm a firm believer it should be mastered without a reward.


3) What is the most common behavioural response you have observed from adult birds confronted by a juvenile that is showing the described posture?

I believed I answered this in the thread too in Missk's response and yours.

While watching many of them, the babies seemed skittish and aggressive while competing with the adult birds for food. If a bird got too close to their portion of food many of the babies quickly reacted by opening their beaks and raising their back feathers. Most of the adult birds moved away; however, some of the more aggressive females had no problem standing up to some of the aggressive behavior exhibited by the juveniles.


But back to what I was saying, many of the adult birds quickly scurried away when presented with bluffing juveniles--with the exception of highly aggressive females. The only time I could see this behavior being an appeasement would be if it were directed towards juveniles and their parents (their parents self-sacrificing their needs for their babies). But, it was not, as the younger birds were reacting to all other flock mates in the same manner.


Just food for thought Claire, again, I think you're trying to find a loophole or something. I don't know what else to tell you, except that I'm a firm believer that bluffing is not a myth. I think this is a topic we have to agree to disagree on.

I think I've made my point clear and we seem to be running in circles. sorry for the typos...i did not re-read as I'm tired and it's late. (-|


Cheers, ;)


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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby InTheAir » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:23 am

Note to the innocent: Do Not google gentle dominance! No doubt the targeted advertising is going to haunt me for a while.

Imran I'm going to continue to follow proven scientific principles in training my birds. Thank you for sharing your studies of ethology, it is great to know that most adult ringnecks avoid conflict with young birds, I will continue to follow their stirling example!

Search empathy in non human animals. Frans de Waal has a great ted talk.

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Re: Question On Bluffing

Postby Babsi » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:00 pm

InTheAir wrote:Note to the innocent: Do Not google gentle dominance! No doubt the targeted advertising is going to haunt me for a while.

Imran I'm going to continue to follow proven scientific principles in training my birds. Thank you for sharing your studies of ethology, it is great to know that most adult ringnecks avoid conflict with young birds, I will continue to follow their stirling example!

Search empathy in non human animals. Frans de Waal has a great ted talk.


If you want your pet birds to survive be able to survive in the wild, then why not rehab them and set them free and be done with your bird/pet relationship completely? To absolutely empathise with your bird's every whim, survival urge and craving using ONLY methods found in nature you would have to be without a pet entirely. So when did you release your captive birds? And when have you become completely pet free to stay solid to your principals?
%%- Happily sharing my life with Ronan, my new blue, male ringneck %%-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpgS0tqOMMk


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